SELVA, Giovanni Antonio
(b. 1751, Venezia, d. 1819, Venezia)

General view

Tempio Canoviano, Possagno

The early 19th century had a predilection for the Roman Pantheon as a model for church building. The combination of a rotunda and a temple façade managed to satisfy the desire for both stereometric clarity and classical grandeur. Moreover, with its monumental look it was excellent for including in showpiece public urban planning settings. Such pantheons occur in several cities of Italy, for example in Milan, Brescia, Bergamo. Special mention must also be made of the Tempio Canoviano in Possagno in the Veneto, built in his native town by the sculptor Antonio Canova, presumably in conjunction with Giovanni Antonio Selva.

The effect of grandeur is reinforced here by the extreme reduction of forms. The almost wholly unarticulated rotunda has an octastyle Doric portico placed directly in front of it without the usual attic, its baseless fluted columns being derived from the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens.

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